On this day in 1928, 9-year-old Walter Collins went missing after his mother, Christine Collins, gave him money to go to the movies, beginning one of the most bizarre missing persons cases in American History. After six months, a boy claiming to be Walter came forward and was returned to Christine; however, this was not her son. When Christine argued her case with the police, she was committed to a mental institution and later released when the boy confessed to being a 12-year-old runaway named Arthur Hutchens.
The fate of the real Walter Collins remains murky. In 1929, a 19-year-old farmer named Gordon Stewart Northcott was accused of killing him in a series of child murders that became known as the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders. Northcott confessed to killing nine boys and was executed in October of 1929. Northcott denied murdering Walter Collins.